Page content Site navigation
ELIE - employability:learning through international entrepreneurship ELIE on Facebook ELIE Homepage ELIE on Twitter
Home > Life Stories > The Skilled Entrepreneur - Greece - 1

The Skilled Entrepreneur - Greece - 1

Mrs N came to Greece in the early ‘80s for personal reasons and soon met and married her Greek husband. She had had vocational training in accountancy back home in Austria. During her first years in Greece she had difficulties with the language but quickly became accustomed to her new environment due to the unreserved support of her family and friends.

At first she and her husband set up a family business importing beverages, in which Mrs N headed up the management of the stock as well as the outgoings. Her husband was particularly interested in beer as a product and in the late ‘80s they began to import beer from abroad. They traveled extensively and met with large breweries in Austria, with which they closed several important deals. As soon as they added several beer brands from abroad to their stock, the company’s fortunes took an upward trend. They were after all the first to import these types of beer into Greece but a new profit opportunity will always attract competition so larger companies with more established and widespread networks of distribution quickly entered the market to claim their share of the pie.

Facing such intense competition this family business chose to look to new markets with similar opportunities and fewer competitors, such as the Greek islands. Such a move involved high set up costs, both operational and labour, to establish their products on the market and consequently offered relatively little profit. Despite their best efforts they had no choice but to return to doing business in their local area which involved less risk because of their established customer base.

In 1995 Mrs N set up, and still maintains, a wholesale company with her husband’s help. She undertook the financial management of the company, which allowed her to exercise total overall control as well as working in an area which she enjoyed and was trained to do.

When asked about the differences between setting up a company in Greece and in Austria, Mrs N states that the differences lie in the time needed to process documents as well as the methods in which payments are made. In Greece payment through banker’s cheques and bank deposits are very popular whereas abroad transactions are mostly done through the banking system and thus payments are made directly.

Mrs N advises immigrants who wish to open a business in Greece to ensure they have an original and innovative idea, strength of character, patience and infinite time to dedicate to their work and of course it is desirable to have the support of their family.

Today the company employs three people as well as her two children who possess the required knowledge to undertake the total management of their company. They also have fresh ideas and vision and they are able to continue their parents’ work, broadening the company’s reach and activity. They are aided in this endeavour by their parents who are always available to advise; drawing on their many years experience in the business.  

Education and Culture Lifelong Learning Programme
© 2011 ELIE Project
This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication [communication] reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.